02:09 GMT31 October 2020
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    Amnesty International accused Australian officials of complicity in transnational crime by paying smugglers to return migrants to Indonesia.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Australian officials who paid people smugglers to return migrants to Indonesia have put lives at risk and committed a transnational crime, a rights group said in a report Thursday.

    Amnesty International’s report details evidence of Australian Navy and Border Force officials intercepting a people smuggling boat and paying the crew money to turn the boat around.

    The report said that in May 2015, a boat carrying over 60 people believed to be heading to New Zealand was intercepted by Australia’s Operation Sovereign Border. The rights group said Australian officials were "complicit in a transnational crime" when they transferred all the passengers and crew into two small boats and paid people smugglers $32,000 to take the passengers to Indonesia.

    In five other "turnbacks" in 2013 and 2014, passenger testimonies suggest a pattern of physical and verbal abuse of asylum-seekers by Australian officials, according to Amnesty.

    Operation Sovereign Borders is Australia’s military-led border control operation. It includes a maritime dimension with Naval and Border Force ships patrolling the country’s territorial waters.

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    Tags:
    migrants, Amnesty International, Australia, Indonesia
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